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February 3, 2023

PM slams Viviane Reding for Schengen remarks

The Premier sheds light on Commissioner’s attacks on the Romanian government.

Premier Victor Ponta reacted to the statements that European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding made about Romania in what concerns the issue of Schengen accession. Victor Ponta stated on Sunday evening that Viviane Reding makes “week-end statements” “by ear” and refers to things “she does not know” and in his opinion her attacks are generated by her political options and have “crossed any normal line” in the EU. Reding stated on Saturday that she would not be surprised if Romania does not join the Schengen Area this year. Likewise, she stated that a Parliamentary putsch that even the IMF was aware of took place in Romania. Asked for his comment, the Premier stated that Reding is not in the position to express a knowledgeable opinion. “It’s as if an extremely respectable lady, Mrs. Plumb, the Environment Minister, were to talk about the issue of prosecutors for example. First of all she would have no clue about how the judiciary works, nor would she have a mandate to speak for someone. The story about the IMF is unreasonable,” the Premier added. Ponta pointed out that Commissioner Reding’s statements are political statements “of a low level.” “I guarantee that no political issue was ever discussed in all the talks I had with the IMF representatives. In fact, every time it came here the IMF delegation met the government and the opposition and talked about the budget deficit, fiscal policies, privatizations. Mrs. Reding mixes up things because she doesn’t know them,” Ponta explained. The Head of Government considers that Viviane Reding is making political statements on her own behalf and is attacking the USL Government because she is part of the EPP political family, just like PDL is.
In Victor Ponta’s opinion, Viviane Reding opposes Romania’s Schengen accession, while EP President Martin Schulz, a Social-Democrat, supports it. “Mrs. Reding is happy she hurts Romania by not entering the Schengen Area. I don’t believe she helps PDL by not entering the Schengen Area because this is Romania’s effort,” Ponta added. In the Premier’s opinion, Commissioner Viviane Reding’s repeated attacks against the government he leads are unique in the relations the EC has with member states. “Any limit in normal relations between an EU member state and the EC has been crossed. A commissioner cannot attack the government of a member state every day. This certainly doesn’t happen,” Ponta added.
At the same time, the Premier added that the Schengen issue is managed by European Com­missioner Cecilia Malmstrom, not by Viviane Reding, pointing out: “You know something? Do you want me to be honest? They wouldn’t have accepted us in the Schengen Area this year anyway.”
Referring to Romania’s Schengen accession, Ponta also stated that a concrete point of collaboration between the Presidency and the government could be the start of joint lobbying in favor of Romania’s Schengen accession, and in this sense Traian Basescu should convince Germany that our country has fulfilled the technical requirements.
After he explained the situation and expressed his point of view on Sunday evening, Ponta raised the issue once more yesterday morning at the Annual Reunion of Romanian Diplomacy, an event that took place at the Palace of Parliament. Thus, the Premier stated yesterday that Romania’s Schengen accession has become a psychological issue for our country and expressed his hope that EU political decisions on this issue will leave room for a correct decision, considering that Romania fulfils all accession standards. He added that success or failure when it comes to Schengen accession is not an internal politics issue that someone stands to gain from. “Those that imagine that any Romanian party will win if we fail to join the Schengen Area would be making an incorrect and anti-national calculus. Nobody will win, neither the PDL, if we are postponed. Nor would USL win if we join the Schengen Area, Romania will win,” Ponta stated. He added yesterday that the statements he made on Sunday about European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding were not “attacks” because he would not do such a thing and pointed out that as Prime Minister he talks with European Commission President Jose Barroso.
Corlatean: We support the rejection of any arbitrary or discriminatory arguments concerning Schengen
Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean stated yesterday that the Schengen accession is a legitimate goal for Romania and the Foreign Affairs Ministry will support the respect of the already confirmed merits and the rejection of any “arbitrary or discriminatory arguments.”
The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) replied to European Commissioner Reding too. According to the MAI, European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding’s statement concerning Romania’s Schengen accession is at least lacking a juridical basis.
PDL did not wave off the Premier’s statements. Thus, PDL President Vasile Blaga stated yesterday that PM Victor Ponta’s statement according to which Romania would not have been accepted in the Schengen Area in 2012 anyway is “irresponsible.”

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